By Matt Spetalnick
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration is facing “reluctance” from Mexico to devote enough resources to help stop the flow of the illegal drug fentanyl into the United States, and is pressing Mexican authorities to do more, an official from the United States on Thursday. .
Todd Robinson, assistant secretary of state for narcotics and international law enforcement, told a Senate subcommittee that the United States continues to engage with the Mexican government “to convince them that they need to put more resources into” the fight against the smuggling of the deadly opioid.
President Joe Biden’s administration has been seeking more cooperation from Mexico and China to curb the flow of fentanyl and its precursor chemicals, which have fueled a sharp rise in overdose deaths in the United States.
“Frankly, the challenge we have with Mexico is their reluctance to put … sufficient resources into the fight, and we are pushing them to do that,” Robinson said when asked if Mexico was showing enough political will to address the fentanyl crisis.
“The partners we work with want to do more. They want to do better. They want to partner with us on more security in Mexico and on the border,” he said, adding that “we continue to engage with them on that.”
The Mexican embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Mexican Foreign Minister Alicia Barcena said on August 10 that Mexico is developing a digital tracking system for fentanyl precursor chemicals, including methods to detect the substances at Mexican ports and border crossings.
Mexico has vowed to crack down on precursors coming into the country, where they are used to produce fentanyl which is then often smuggled into the United States.
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has defended his country’s efforts, said in April that he had written to Chinese leader Xi Jinping urging him to help control shipments of fentanyl.
(Reporting By Matt Spetalnick; Editing by Timothy Gardner)